Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fort Monroe Hampton, VA

In 2011, Fort Monroe was decommissioned as a military installation and became a national monument. This is the largest stone fort ever built in the United States and the best way to explore this fort is by foot. To get to the park, enter from Mercury Blvd, go across a bridge and causeway; and drive on the road along the water and the marina. Once you pass the former Chamberlin Hotel, which has now been converted to a retirement community, there are a couple of parking lots along the seawall. We parked close to the Old Point Comfort Light House.
Before we headed to the fort, we had to go out onto the fishing pier and see if anyone was catching any fish. Al really misses going fishing. And PG seemed ready to jump in!

No one was catching any fish--but we did run into these iggys! Sammy was thrilled to see these mini-versions of himself!
We crossed over the moat; and then went through a tunnel onto the fort. We entered through the East Gate.
Once inside, we climbed up to the top of the ramparts, to walk along the perimeter of the fort. There is this huge wrought iron sign, in the style of the Eiffel Tower, at the top. It says, "Jefferson Davis Memorial Park." I'm not sure of the history of this sign. Jefferson Davis was held as a prisoner at the fort after the Civil War.
The walk along the ramparts is really fabulous. Not only can you look down on the houses, structures and trees within the fort walls, you can also look out at the Bay. All along the ramparts are old weapon foundations. We had the whole place to ourselves. The walk is about a mile and a half long.
This old cistern can be seen looking down from the ramparts. Since the fort was surrounded by salt water, they had to rely on the cistern for drinking water. From the marker:
The Old Cistern

One of several large cisterns shown on a map of 1834. No potable water was ever found on Old Point Comfort, although one well was sunk to more than 900 feet. The garrison had to depend on cistern water and water brought in from wells on the mainland.

An interesting thing to me, was that there are hundreds of small pet grave markers along the ramparts where military personnel stationed at the fort were allowed to bury their pets. Some of the markers are very extravagant--must have been much loved pets!

 As if walking along those ramparts wasn't enough, we finished our walk by walking down the seawall. This could be a beautiful walk in itself!
From the seawall, you can look out at the ship traffic passing. Some ships coming back into port and some heading out to the Atlantic Ocean. In the background is another fort, Fort Wool.

This is a great place to walk and we'll certainly be going back!
Wish you were here,
Sammy & PG

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful walk. Especially ending up at the water. Bet the pups were ready for a nap after that.